Bank Windhoek has disbursed N$50 million since March 2023 to support the government’s Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) Economic Recovery Loan Scheme launched in February. The news was shared on Tuesday, 9 May 2023 by Bank Windhoek’s Executive Officer of Business Banking, Leon Koch, who encouraged eligible SMEs to approach the bank for assistance.
“As a connector of positive change, we support the development of SMEs because they play a crucial role in the Namibian economy through value- creation in various sectors and also assisting in reducing unemployment,” said Koch.
The SME Economic Recovery Loan Scheme is an initiative government introduced in partnership with several local banking institutions, including Bank Windhoek and the Bank of Namibia. “It aims to stimulate economic growth and job-creation by providing additional funding to SME businesses to enable them to continue to pay their operational expenses and to retain and pay their employees, also referred to as working capital,” said Koch.
He added that through this scheme, Bank Windhoek would extend loans to qualifying SMEs at the prime lending rate, less 0.5%. The obligation to pay the interest and capital on these loans is deferred for six months from the day of signing the agreement.
Koch emphasised that the critical qualifying criteria for Bank Windhoek is that the SME customer should have an existing relationship with Bank Windhoek through lending or transactional banking. “They should also be a registered business entity with the Business and Intellectual Property Authority (BIPA), including a sole proprietorship. The customers should have a maximum annual turnover not exceeding 60 million Namibia dollars per annum,” he said.
Koch added that to qualify for assistance, the applicant should not have previously participated or have any existing SME Economic Recovery Loan with Bank Windhoek, or any other financial institution.
The domestic economic slowdown experienced since 2016 severely impacted businesses, and specifically SMEs. As such, government created the scheme to assist SMEs during challenging financial situations.